Unfortunately babysitters are a necessary evil if you want to keep your sanity as a parent and keep your relationships alive and well with your partner and your friends. Parenting is one of the most difficult things you'll ever do but it can be the most rewarding also. No matter how much we love our children they are exhausting, so much energy in such tiny little bodies! So much patience required to teach, communicate, entertain, listen, enjoy, love, create.....no wonder you just want them to be on their tablets so you can have a conversation with your partner. So when you do need a babysitter, and you will, make sure you don't make these common mistakes:
Look, I'm not an expert and I'm not going to present myself as such. Parents are bombarded every day with "expert" opinion on how to raise their children but can I tell you, in my humble opinion, only you, the parent, is the expert. You know yourself, your children, and family dynamic better than anyone. You know what you want for your children and the kind of parent you want to be. Trial and error, yes error, is what will guide your success and create a parent that your children will love and respect as they get older. I know it is difficult to hear that your children are basically a social experiment but it is true. People, and of course children, are unpredictable and how actions and words are perceived by each individual is unpredictable. For example, I was talking to my niece who happens to be visually impaired the other day and she related a story to me about when she was in high school she got a good score on a science exam and the teacher said to the whole class afterwards: "You should be ashamed of yourselves with your scores. (My nieces name is being changed for privacy) Clara outscored all of you and she is virtually blind." Now this was supposed to be a compliment to Clara but she teared up when she told me because she took it to mean that if a blind girl can do well then you sighted people should have done better. Like because she's blind she should have been too stupid to get high marks on a test. Now that isn't at all what the teacher meant but that is how she took it. image courtesy of Nicole Schwartz book with the same name
Date night shmate night everyone says you need a date night. Do you really? I mean being married and parents can be pretty boring, and then you know you need to make some time to get away from the kids to reconnect but if you go to one more movie and dinner or WORSE a fundraiser for the school your kids go to you'll slit your wrists! You'd rather not have a date night at all; thank you very much. It's more of a bother then it is a pleasure. Am I right? Just one more thing you have to plan; UGH!
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Hate is a very strong word but there is definitely a strong dislike parents have about babysitters' behaviors. It is hard enough to leave your children with a babysitter especially one you don't know but, unfortunately, leaving your kids with a babysitter is a necessary "evil" from time to time.
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Every parent wonders about babysitters, and what they do with their children while they're gone. Parents also need to know what makes a good babysitter for their children. The thing parents think is the most important part about a good babysitter is if the kids like them. HINT: all children will love a babysitter that will let them do whatever they want even though you don't allow certain behaviors or activities and you've directed the babysitter. Keep that in mind and know why your kids love a babysitter; are they a babysitter that lets the kids do whatever they want including watching too much TV?
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Trust is the biggest problem
If you ask any parent anywhere the biggest problem parents have when using a babysitter even when it is family; is trust. Trusting a babysitter is the biggest problem parents have when leaving their children with anyone other than themselves. Even parents have been known to have trust issues when leaving their children with the other spouse. Leaving children with a babysitter related or not is so difficult that a lot of parents choose never to leave their children, and then they get burnt out. You need to face it; you need a break, and figure out how to trust your caregivers.
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One of the most confusing situations for your children and your in home childcare provider is when a parent works from home. Why, well the children don't know who to go to for permission or other questions they may have, the babysitter isn't sure how much you want to be involved with the childcare, and if they are still in charge of the children in a way that they normally are when you aren't home; the whole dynamic changes. When you telecommute or work from home, and have a nanny or childcare professional in your home at the same time you really need to have clear boundaries for you, the children, and the childcare provider.
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We live in an age where parents want to give more to their children than their parents did. This phenomenon has been going on for generations, and now we have children that simply have to ask for something and they get it. We are teaching our children that all they need to do to get what they want is just ask. I want a new nerf gun, I want a new iPad, I want a new Lego set, I want a new doll, I want a car, I want..... Is your response to this; "of course, here you go." OR do you talk to them about the cost of things, teach them to save for things, be patient in order to get some of the things they want especially the more expensive items? Do your children have an allowance? If they do, do they spend it all at once? Do they want to go to the Dollar Store, and spend it even though they want something that is more expensive? Do you give them guidance on their spending, and let them know that they can have the small items from Dollar Store OR they can save their allowance and get the latest Star Wars Lego set?
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